As a family caregiver, your top priority is the health and happiness of your loved one.
While you should feel proud of the comfort and care you provide, it’s possible you’re too overwhelmed with responsibilities to recognize the signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout.
Caregivers who are burnt out may experience feelings of physical, mental or emotional exhaustion, making it difficult to care for yourself—let alone your loved one.
Below, we outline three steps you can take to prevent caregiver burnout.
1. Accept that you may need help while caring for a loved one.
Taking on all the responsibilities of caregiving without the support of others can result in burnout.
If you’re feeling run down, let others help. A weekly or monthly check-in with close friends and family can help you divvy up responsibilities—like picking up a prescription from the pharmacy or driving your loved one to an appointment.
You can also look into services like in-home health care to help you with daily activities like bathing, dressing and grooming. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, in-home healthcare provides a temporary break for caregivers to tend to other responsibilities.
Whether it’s reading a book, practicing yoga, going for a walk or working in the garden, use this extra time to focus on your personal health and happiness. You owe it to yourself and your loved one to recharge your batteries every now and then.
2. Join a supportive community of caregivers.
While your loved one relies on you for comfort and care, caregivers need both mental and emotional support, too.
If your loved one’s health is quickly declining, you may experience feelings of hopelessness or helplessness. Having a supportive community can help you make sense of your situation.
Joining a caregiver support group is a great way to connect with others who truly understand what you’re going through. Groups that focus on a specific illness or disease are extremely helpful, as members can exchange practical information on caregiver challenges and offer possible coping strategies and solutions.
By sharing your successes and failures, you’ll feel better knowing you’re not alone in your caregiving journey.
3. Set realistic goals for yourself and your loved one.
No matter what kind of caregiver support you provide, it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself and your loved one.
While you cannot control the good days from the bad, be mindful of what you can control by setting objectives and identifying obstacles. Some things to consider include:
- What do you hope to achieve?
- Is this a realistic goal given the time, effort and resources available?
- What challenges and concerns are you facing?
Asking yourself these questions can help you remain motivated while caring for an aging loved one, preventing burnout in the process.
>>>Related Resource: Looking for simple strategies to improve your caregiving experience? Develop a senior care plan to ensure you’re prepared for any medical obstacle that comes your way.
Talk to Your Loved One About End-of-Life Planning
If your loved one’s health is quickly declining, we encourage you to have conversations about end-of-life planning. Preplanning is a surefire way to ensure your loved one’s end-of-life wishes are met. Not to mention, preplanning can save you and your family time, money and worry by making final arrangements ahead of time. For more information about preplanning, download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements.
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